No Merge on Ballot

By: Laura Gibbs
By: Laura Gibbs

A judge has dismissed a criminal case against Winnebago County Clerk and Rockford Alderman David Johnson. Johnson submitted papers in an attempt to merge the city and county election offices.

But the Rockford Board of Elections found Johnson's documents to be fraudulent. About 1,000 signatures were either in the same handwriting, not a registered voter or in the names of those who are deceased.

David Johnson says, "It is embarrassing that some people didn't do it right. It made all of us look bad, all the people that worked so hard."

Patrick Hayes who is the Attorney for the Rockford Board of Elections says, "This is not politics as usual. The gravity and depth of the forgery and perjury goes beyond anybody's experience."

Even with all the irregularities Johnson says the judge ruling to dismiss all litigation is a victory.

Johnson tells 23 News, "I think so and judging by people who have called and said hang in there, we’ll help you the next time."

Rockford Board of Election Commissioners is also glad that we won't be voting to abolish the Rockford Board of Elections anytime soon.

Hayes says, “They felt good that voters won today. The election process was defended and ultimately voters are who won."

Johnson says this issue is not done. The next time he could get it on the ballot is in spring of 2006.

Johnson stated, “This is all about putting it on the ballot so the voters can see that we can save a couple hundred of thousands of dollars a year.”

Hayes replied by saying, "We don't want services to be reduced. We feel that is they did consolidate in the clerks office there would be reduction in services."

The State Attorney's Office is reviewing all the documents submitted from both sides. No word on if any action will be taken. Johnson was ordered to pay a $314 fine.


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